Cybersecurity Jumps to Top of Manufacturers’ Biggest Risks — BDO Study  


CHICAGO—Smart, connected products and processes make for vast amounts of data, but also more network entry points for bad actors. And as data and connectivity transform the industry, manufacturers’ intellectual property, data, and products have become prime targets for cybercriminals. According to a new report from BDO USA, LLP, more than nine in 10 manufacturers (92 percent) cite cybersecurity concerns in their SEC disclosures this year. That represents a 44 percent jump from 2013—and the first time in BDO’s analysis that cyber risk ranks among manufacturers’ top 10 risk factors.

BDO’s 2016 Manufacturing Risk Factor Report, which analyzes the latest 10-K filings from the largest 100 publicly traded U.S. manufacturers across five key subsectors, reveals that 91 percent also cite operational infrastructure risk, including information systems and implementation of new systems and maintenance.

“As the industry races toward the next frontier, manufacturers must strike a balance between progress and security,” said Rick Schreiber, partner and national leader of the Manufacturing & Distribution practice and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Board Member. “Data analytics and the Internet of Things may spur the next industrial revolution, but with that comes increased exposure to cyber risk. Manufacturers still have some catching up to do to adequately protect their data, customers, products and factory floors.”

Nearly all manufacturers—97 percent—cite competitive pressures this year. The push to get leaner and meaner and keep up with emerging technologies, like the Internet of Things and machine learning, appears to be contributing to related business risks, say the authors of the study. Ninety-one percent worry about inability to properly execute corporate strategy—including cost reduction, capacity expansion, or improving efficiencies—and 87 percent report risks around their ability to develop and market quality products that meet customer needs.

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